Have You Tried Gelato?

Yes, you’re looking at gelato, a delicious Italian ice-cream dessert, and even though this is an art blog, I’ll happily share this recipe for authentic gelato.

Classic Gelato

And for those — like us — who are loving the low-carb lifestyle, here’s a “keto friendly” recipe you might like.

Keto Italian Gelato

Now, a quick disclaimer. I have not made either of these recipes, although I have made “keto” ice cream. I’m planning to use the keto recipe here next week, once I’ve ordered my groceries and have cashew milk on hand. It will be one more way I can “play” with “gelato”, which is exactly what I’ve been doing for most of my morning.

Nope. Not playing with food. Playing with a few Faber-Castell “gelatos”, which are similar to distress crayons. In fact, for the most part, gelatos and distress crayons are about the same thing. After using both, I don’t see any significant differences between them. The most notable difference is that distress crayons — such as those by Ranger — look more like a marker or pen. Another similar product is the “NeoColor” crayons by Caran d’Ache.

Essentially all of these products are water-soluble pigments in a “gel” or “crayon” form. Here is what I’ve learned from a quick bit of research:

“Distress Crayons are formulated to achieve vibrant coloring effects on porous surfaces for mixed-media. The smooth water-reactive pigments are ideal for creating brilliant backgrounds, watercoloring, smudge effects and more.” — From Ranger

There are many different sets available including metallics. They are also “color coordinated” with the company’s “Distress Inks” for mixed-media work.

The NeoColors by Caran d’Ache are described as “wax-based”, much like a regular crayon. Sales blurbs for the product tell us that these “have a soft, velvety texture and they do not crumble. Their ultra-high pigment concentration, superior covering power, luminous colors and excellent lightfastness set them miles above similar products.”

They are available in a wide range of colors — 84, according to the manufacturer — and “can be used for all forms of creativity, ranging from drawings on dry or wet materials, monotypes, impregnation, wet drawing, glazing or rainbow gradation.”

I have three of the NeoColor II crayons but have limited experience with them. From what I’ve seen, they are comparable to the Distress Crayons and the Gelatos.

The Gelatos are made by Faber-Castell, one of my personal favorite brands of artist tools. Here is the description from the Faber-Castell website:

“Gelatos are watercolour chalks that can be applied on a variety of different surfaces like paper, fabric, canvas and wood thanks to their creamy, smooth consistency. Gelatos can be transformed into watercolour with a brush, smudged with the finger or stamped on. In addition to the wet techniques, Gelatos can also be used for dry techniques. They impress with vibrant colours and easy application.”

I began playing with gelatos after opening my February “subscription box” from Let’s Make Art. It includes three iridescents:

  • Stardust
  • Mars
  • Nebula

Initially I thought these products were basically used for scrapbooking and journaling, in ways similar to watercolor pencils or Inktense pencils. In other words, apply to paper, wet with a brush, and voila!

I haven’t had much success with that sort of application, so obviously my techniques with water-soluble pigments aren’t good. That won’t stop me from playing, however. As I read more about these materials and learn of the many ways they can be used, I definitely want to set aside a little time for trying a variety of different projects.

I’m trying gelatos on ceramic tiles this morning with encouraging results. I also want to use them on fabric and on wood. There are many creative possibilities with these little sticks of pigment, and in coming weeks I hope to EXPLORE — my 2021 word — them all.


Have you used any water-soluble crayons?


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